The Argonauts
Max Beckmann
The Argonauts
Max Beckmann (German, 1884-1950): The Argonauts, 1949-50. Oil on canvas; Side panels 74-3/8 x 33-1/8 inches (184.1 x 85.1 cm), Central panel 79-7/8 x 48 inches (205.8 x 122 cm). Image: © National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., USA. © VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2011. © This artwork may be protected by copyright. It is posted on the site in accordance with fair use principles.

'In his 1938 lecture "On My Painting," Beckmann explained: "I hardly need to abstract things, for each object is unreal enough already, so unreal that I can only make it real by means of painting."

… There are few German painters who have had as long and distinguished a career as Max Beckmann … Some, such as August Macke and Franz Marc, had their lives cut tragically short while serving in war, while others, such as Otto Dix, George Grosz, and Christian Schad, were unable to regain their creative edge following Nazi persecution … Between 1905 and 1950, he created more than eight hundred paintings and produced hundreds of prints and drawings, a phenomenal output under any circumstances, and even more considerable when one realizes the challenges that faced him during the height of his career. Persecuted by the Nazis, he was forced to flee his homeland and work in relative isolation while the war turned Europe upside down.'

(Matthew Drutt, Introduction to the catalog, "Max Beckmann in Exile")

Read more:

"German painter, draughtsman, printmaker and teacher. He was one of the most important German painters of the 20th century... during World War I he rejected perspective and classical proportion in favour of a more expressive objective art. He was persecuted by the Nazis in the 1930s but continued to work, painting his celebrated secular triptychs in the late 1930s and the 1940s." (, © 2009 Oxford University Press)